YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown woman says all she can do is thank God after she was shot 14 times and is still alive.
“I thought about my kids, my family. Stay strong. I thought I was gonna pass away but I have faith and I believe that God was there in that moment,” Erica Cruz said.
Cruz was on the West Side of Youngstown on February 4 when she was the victim of a shooting near the intersection of North Glenellen and Connecticut avenues.
“One here on my face, I got a few on my neck, I got a few under my arm, I got a few on the back of my arm. All together they said 14,” she said.
Cruz said on the night of the shooting, she was going to buy food for her kids but her car kept getting stuck in the snow. She said she reversed, but accidentally bumped into the car behind her.
She said the driver was demanding money from her, then shortly after, “He came up to my car and shot me.”
Cruz said she did her best to protect herself.
“I covered my head. If I didn’t do that, then I would not be here today,” she said.
She said she knew she had to stay awake or she would die.
“Don’t go to sleep, in my mind, you know? ‘Cause I felt it, all of them hit me,” she said.
Cruz was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital where she was in critical condition. Then, she had to have surgery. Thankfully, she is alive and recovering.
But this violent act comes at a difficult time for her family as just last year, her daughter who was 17 years old at the time was also the victim of a shooting on the South Side.
“This just happened to my daughter just recently, so it broke my heart, like, into half,” she said.
Her daughter Christa spent roughly eight months in the hospital after being shot in the neck. She was finally able to come home — the same week Cruz was released from the hospital.
Cruz believes they were protected.
“My angels were with me,” she said.
Cruz has a message for the person who found her and called 911.
“I wanna say thank you, if you’re hearing me, to the people that found me,” she said.